Archive for grief

Post #160 – About The Expiration Date and the End of the Beehive Hairdo

Posted in Family, family battles, family drama, grandmothers, humor, life, memoir, Motherhood, narrative memoir, nonfiction, people, relationships, true stories, uncategoried, work, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2016 by tenaciousbitch

Knowing that each of us has an expiration date does not make it any easier when we’re told that the end is near for a family member or a friend – even if that person is 99 years old. I got that phone call earlier today from a hospice nurse about my Grandmother. She hasn’t been able to eat more than a bite or 2 of food at a time, and she’s been sleeping pretty much since Thanksgiving.

And the nurse said she was too weak to speak to me even if she brought Nana the phone. That’s when I broke down because anyone who knows Nana – knows that the only thing in this universe that would stop her from talking would be if the Grim Reaper himself was hovering about her bed.And the nurse kept using the word “declining”, which I tend to think of as a hospice buzz word synonymous with dying. I remember hearing that term a few days before my mother passed away.

I was absolutely miserable when Nana lived with us for two very long years, i.e. check out Post #1 about what she said to me when my mother was terminally ill @ https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com

And/or this post about Nana’s back-handed racisim @ https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/tenaciousbitch.com.  However, I found myself sobbing on the way to the grocery store where I went to fax some paperwork to hospice in order to secure her care for however long she has left.

Ten minutes, I was told for the confirmation that the fax went through to Vitas Hospice’s office. Ten. Long. Minutes trying not to start crying again in front of total strangers. And then, a miracle happened. I decided I’d treat myself to my favorite dessert, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. On my way to the beloved freezer holding my creamy comfort in a 1/2 gallon box, I realized that God knew how sad I would be at this moment, and a miracle occurred that caused me to break into a wide smile despite my melancholy mood…

ALL OF MY FAVORITE ICE CREAM TREATS WERE ON SALE…:) november-29-2016-019   And the Skinny Cow was buy one get one FREE! I don’t think that’s every happened that I can recall. 

So, despite the fact that I started bawling again in my car on the way home, I realized life really is about the little things. The ice cream miracle. The fact that my husband does the dishes without me asking him to do so as well as watching the hilarious antics of my cats, one of whom has learned to lock herself in the bathroom when she wants some downtime from the other 2 cats (funny story for another day).

And last but not least, the incredible euphoria I experience every single time I go to the beach (any beach, Florida, California, New Jersey, doesn’t matter), and I sit staring at the vast expanse of water roaring to and fro in front of me. There’s nothing in this world that I enjoy more (as far as leisure activities, that is) than lying on the beach on a hot and sunny day…except maybe lying on the beach with a good book.

And I wondered if any of those wonderful moments that Nana has experienced over her nearly 100 years were ruminating through her mind as she drifts away from this world. I hope so. And I decided that I was going to remember Nana as the crazy redheaded woman who spoiled me rotten every time we came to visit…who so loved the hairstyle shown in the photo below…which I never really understood but Nana never really understood my love of science fiction and zombie movies either…:)nana-demonstrating-shoes That said, even though she and I are very different in a lot of ways, she taught me a very valuable life lesson – just by the way she lived her life. And I’m sure she doesn’t even realize what I’ve gleaned from her in this respect.

In that, the most important ingredient to happiness is to be true to yourself. And it’s okay if you’re not like other women, or other people in general. Nana was the FIRST woman in her family and among her friends who worked after she got married.

A year or so after my mother was born, Nana took a job at the company store. My mother grew up in the coal fields of West Virginia. And Nana got to know the manager of the company store at church, and he mentioned that he needed a part-time clerk. My grandmother eagerly took the job, not because she needed the money, but because she WANTED to work. And she eventually became the manager of the store.

She wasn’t happy sitting around the house all day cleaning and changing diapers. And this was in 1936! Such just wasn’t done, but Nana did it! She didn’t care what other people thought about it either. My grandfather was shocked and confused, but he knew Nana well enough to know that it didn’t do any good to argue with her or to try to dissuade her from whatever she wanted. She was going to do it anyway. And she worked until she was 78 years old. She retired 3 times before she finally decided it was time to give work a rest.

I hope that I’m able to see Nana again before she’s ushered from this world.  When taking care of Nana got to be too much, and she needed full-time care, she didn’t want to be in a nursing home here in Ohio where I live because she hates the weather here. She requested to move back down South where she’d lived for more than 50 years.

So, we put her in a nursing home about 5 miles from the house where she had lived from 1976 until she moved in with me and my husband in 2011. And they’ve taken very good care of her though they refer to her as “the Diva”, which is more than appropriate because I’ve never encountered anyone more spoiled than she is, God Bless Her…:) And there are quite a few posts herein that will more than quantify that nickname.

And so with that, I will say adieu so that I can make travel plans to see the crazy redhead one more time before her lights go out in Georgia for the last time.

Over and out from CASA DE CRAZY…

~TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #116 – The mystery of Sasha’s death has been solved…

Posted in cats, Family, nonfiction, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

I called the OSU Pathology department back, and, apparently, they had the wrong fax number for the vet. They faxed the autopsy report on Sasha, my cat, while I was at the vet with Samantha (Sasha’s daughter). But knowing what happened doesn’t make me feel much better. Sasha choked on one of her own HAIR BALLS! Apparently, she had an allergic reaction to something, which made her esophagus swell, so she couldn’t throw up the hairball. And she was a very furry cat, and the vet said it was a rather large lump of fur.

It just breaks my heart knowing how she must’ve suffered in the end. But she’s at peace now, and the vet is going to test Samantha for allergies.  It could’ve been an allergy to dog fur since Sasha was known to chew on clumps of Raven fur, but I fear it might be an allergy to peanuts. Charlie left a can of peanuts on the end table by his recliner in the family room, and the lid was off when he got home that day, and there were a couple of peanuts on the floor. They didn’t test for allergies during the autopsy, but anything’s possible.

Regardless of the exact cause of her death, Sasha was a very sweet cat, and she often surprised me. One day, Raven wandered into our walk-in closet while I was working in my office, and I didn’t realize it. I came out of the office and shut the closet door to keep the cats out of there because they would go in there and knock things off the shelf, and Sasha loved to get her white fur all over my black clothing.

A little while later after I’d shut the closet door, I was sitting on the bed folding clothes. I had the TV on, so I didn’t hear Raven whining from within the closet, but Sasha heard her. And, apparently, I hadn’t shut the door all the way because Sasha wandered over to the door, listened for a second then pushed the door open with her head and out came Raven! Charlie walked in just as Sasha knocked the door open, and he started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked because all I’d seen was Raven bounding toward me.

“Sasha, she saved Raven from the closet. You must’ve penned her up in there.”

“What a good girl, Sasha,” I said smiling, and she looked at me, then looked at Raven for a second then hissed at her as if to say – I don’t like you THAT MUCH…LOL

Since Raven is black, she blends into the shadows if the closet light isn’t on, and that’s not the first time I’ve accidentally shut her up in there – just the first time that Sasha had been the one to rescue her.

Sasha was also a good mouser, definitely brought me quite a few corpses during her 18 months on this earth. She liked having her belly rubbed, which is so unlike most cats. She would lie on her back with all four legs drawn back, and if you didn’t touch her, she’d bat a big furry paw at you until you just couldn’t resist – and you’d end up petting her and rubbing that matted carpet of fur on her tummy.

I had Sasha cremated, and I’ll be picking up her urn next week. It’ll go on the mantel over the fireplace next to Bart and Maggie’s urns – everyone’s photos over their ashes. Some people might think it’s morbid, but it makes me feel like they’re still part of the family – which they most certainly are.

So, goodnight and goodbye my dear Sasha. There are no words for how much you will be missed…there will never be one like you…:)

Sasha, the innocent-looking pasta thief....:)

Over and out from fracked up central…

TenaciousBITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #115 -She’s NOT the daughter of an Iranian Prince…

Posted in cats, college, Family, humor, mysteries, nonfiction, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

I realize people may be getting tired of hearing about my dead cat, but…

When we dropped Sasha off to get autopsied, they told us to contact the pathology department at Ohio State in a couple of days to see if they had found the cause of death right off, or if they’d had to do testing before a definitive cause of her demise could be determined. In which case, we wouldn’t know until the final report comes out in 3-4 weeks.

However, when I called earlier today, I was told they couldn’t give me any information over the phone!  What the hell?!! She was a CAT, for heaven’s sake, not the daughter of an Iranian PRINCE…or some neighbor’s kid. She was 1/2 Maine Coon, but she wasn’t a show cat. She was a stray 18 months ago. She wasn’t a descendant of Ronald Reagan’s dog – or a radioactive squirrel that survived CHERNOBYL just your ordinary – loved to eat mice/chase dog fur/play with the feather duster, kind of cat. So, HIPPA, the International Laws of NATO, and/ or the guidelines/restrictions of the World Health Organization do not apply.

I was told the pathologist could tell me, but he wasn’t there. And I was so angry, I didn’t think to leave a message for said pathologist/wizard/keeper of the Book of the DEAD or whomever has the classified intel/clearance to discuss why my cat was fine one minute and croaked the next…

So, the woman I spoke to in the Pathological Department at OSU said they’d faxed a preliminary report to Dr. Blair, our vet, but the vet’s office didn’t have any record of the report. AWESOME.  Tina, the vet’s admin assistant was going to check around to see if it had landed in the wrong inbox, but – nope. They simply don’t have it.

I’m worried about Samantha (Sasha’s daughter) and Raven, our dog – maybe getting into whatever killed Sasha. Plus, Sasha was 18 months old. Maybe, it was something genetic that Samantha could be tested for, and she’s got an appointment with our vet, tomorrow, which is why I’d REALLY like to know today what killed my beautiful baby feline – if there was any preliminary findings that point toward a particular medical condition or accidental ingestion of some sort of poison/bad meat/bad air – or did she sneak off to a rave and re-up on some bad Ecstasy? Or something more normal and cat-like a.k.a. having a seizure/heart attack/aneurism, etc., because she certainly didn’t die of old age…

I’ll keep everyone POSTED as this veterinary nightmare of redirection, reanimation and red tape unfolds…

Over and out from fracked up central…

KENNEDY/TENACIOUS BITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies…

___

 

Post #114 – My beloved Sasha is gone…

Posted in cats, Family, memoir, Motherhood, nonfiction, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

I was going to write another post about another man who wronged me, but I’m afraid a death in the family has usurped that rather juicy tome. And HEAR me, UNIVERSE, it’s time for death to take a frickin’ holiday!! Since 2004, we’ve lost my Aunt Lily, Max’s Dad Ashe (for the 411 on him – ck out:  http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/09/07/post-75-about-ashes-logic/  ) both my parents, our dog, Maggie, suddenly in ’09, my husband’s grandparents, our dog, Bart, and now SASHA my cat, who was half Maine Coon and half dog (at least that’s how she acted…:)).

I mentioned Sasha recently in this rather amusing post http://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/09/03/post-111-no-judging-my-transsexual-cat/ )….

Sasha, queen of cats, whose passing left an un-healable gash in my heart

Sasha, queen of cats, whose passing left an un-healable gash in my heart

Yes, I know – un-healable is NOT a word. But it is today, dammit!  I’m completely devastated by her death.  She’s only 18 months old. She was in the kitchen watching me make spaghetti/playing around, chasing a fly- didn’t act ill at all, and an hour later, I found her lifeless corpse in Nana’s room. I kept staring at her, thinking she couldn’t possibly be dead. She’s just a baby!

I know it’s different with animals, but her life had just began. And it’s just NOT FAIR. Why her? Why not a couple pedophiles, or the poor black stray who terrorizes Samantha, hissing at the windows all the time. It would be a blessing if that one died. She’s suffering so.

The crazy drunk next door moved and left her cat behind! She’s at least 12 years old and blind in one eye. I’d take her in, but she was so badly neglected before the woman moved, I’m afraid of what she might give my cats/dog – or the way she might treat them. She’s a mean little thing.

And the strange thing is – I dreamed it. I’d forgotten all about it, but after the shock started to wear off, I remember waking up and being sickened by the sight of Sasha lying exactly where I found her. Only in the dream, she wasn’t dead. She was really sick. Shit – I hope that dream wasn’t supposed to be a warning, and I missed it. But if she had a seizure or a heart attack or something, she hadn’t been lying there for long. And if she found one of Nana’s pills, she probably wouldn’t have made it to the vet. Nana was really bad about dropping her meds. I vacuumed obsessively in there, but I found 2 in her chair right after she moved into the nursing home.

I just totally feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of my life. I know she’s just a cat, but she and Samantha are the little girls I could never have. And Sasha was very different from most cats, very laid back. She was a stray. And she FOUND me. She saw me from across the street and came running up on our porch like she knew I would rescue her – like someone told her I was the one, and she kept coming back for weeks before I talked Charlie into letting me keep her because he allegedly doesn’t like cats.

But guess who was out back on the deck, chain smoking and sobbing after I told him about Sasha? Definitely a far cry from his behavior in this post: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/05/11/post-no-60-my-confession/  – and when she first dawned our doorstep, Charlie would try to shoo her off the porch, but she wouldn’t budge.

Obviously, she wasn’t skittish like most cats. She wasn’t afraid of much – not dogs, not loud people or loud music, not other cats – or thunderstorms – nothing really. The only things that bothered her were mechanical like the sound of the garage door or the squeaky springs on the oven door. It’s almost like since she lived in the wild for the first three months of her life – not much in nature could intimidate her. But maybe I’m reading too much into her personality.

I’ve cried so much, my head hurts, and my tear ducts must surely be empty. And this is the cat, of course, whose babies I delivered, and we still have Samantha, her 15-month old who is completely lost without Mommy. She’s been trolling the house aimlessly for hours since Sasha died.

We took Sasha to OSU to be autopsied. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother with something like that, but I want to know if she got into anything that maybe would be a danger to Raven (our black lab) or Samantha. And it only cost $100, which I didn’t think was bad, but we won’t get the report for THREE or FOUR weeks. Charlie did a pretty thorough search of the garage and couldn’t find any antifreeze leaking or anything toxic since Sasha had been in the garage this morning. She constantly dashes in there when you open the door to go to the freezer or something, and sometimes you don’t see her rush by. Occasionally, I actually put her in the garage on purpose when I’m eating breakfast because she drives me bonkers trying to jump/climb/scale the big screened TV the minute I sit down to eat. I really didn’t think there was anything in there that could hurt her.

But she never misbehaved when Charlie and I are eating (little dickens) only when it was just me. Samantha never does any of that, and she’s more prone to chew on things, so I never put her in the garage intentionally. So if Sasha did get into something in the garage, hopefully, Samantha was not exposed.

Even though I have to wait three weeks for the official report, I can call the pathologist in a couple of days to see if he found anything obvious like an aneurism or a heart attack. I thought maybe it might’ve been some old d-Con that we had set out awhile ago before we had the cats, but Charlie said that probably wouldn’t have killed her because she would’ve thrown it up, but we’ll see what the autopsy reveals.

2012-10-06_09-54-32_362                                                                             See? LITTLE DICKENS…:)

I miss her so much already! So, when I recover from the latest chink in my armor, I’ll be back to lambasting bad men, the universe and the like…just thought I’d share.

Over and out from fracked up/off the hook/home of the Hotel California of crazy trains…

Tenacious BITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies…

Post 98 – The anniversary of a tragic death that still haunts me…

Posted in Family, marriage, Motherhood, nonfiction, parenting, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

I realize some folks may be tired of hearing about my mother, but I can’t help but note that today is the 6th anniversary of her death. I had just walked into my parents’ home in West Virginia after a long day of sitting by Mom’s bedside while listening to Nana grumble ALL DAY LONG about stupid crap like how my brother Danny constantly leaves dirty kitchen towels on the counter instead of hanging from the wooden towel rack beside the sink, and he occasionally had the audacity to drop them on the floor and NOT pick them up. Typical Danny. The laws/rules of man and the universe don’t apply to him, and that includes simple courtesy.

My mother/Nana’s oldest daughter and ONLY living child was DYING, and I had to constantly remind her (Nana) that though Mom was in a coma, she didn’t want to hear about Danny’s slovenliness or how much beer Dad was drinking!

His wife of 48 years was hours away from the END, you old WIND BAG. And we all know/KNEW what a slob Danny was. The solution to that problem would’ve been to kick his sorry ass out the minute he arrived upon Mom and Dad’s doorstep, but I didn’t have any say in that.

So, after all that, I was on my way to take a shower when Danny called from the hospice facility to say that Mom had passed. And he didn’t know what to do. Did he need to stay there and arrange for the transportation of her body? Did he need to collect her things, or could he just go. I told him to ask one of the nurses, and I’d be right there because I knew he was in no condition to drive. Danny’s an asshole, but Mom’s death hit him like a Mack truck falling from outer space.

I remember walking into Mom’s room and seeing Danny sitting there. He was teary-eyed, but he was more in shock, I think. I gave him an awkward hug, and he just continued staring at her.

“I heard her,” he said.

“You heard her what?” I asked, trying not to look at Mom’s ghastly expression. Her mouth was open wide and long as if she were at the dentist, but I knew it was really that she’d been frozen that way attempting to hold onto her last breath, which he confirmed.

“I heard her die, she took a deep breath, a crackly kind of breath,” he sputtered, “And then, she was gone. She was just gone…” he voice was swallowed by a bout of sobbing.

I put my arms around his shoulders briefly, trying not to break down, and said, “Come on. They said they’d take care of everything. We just have to let them know which funeral home.”

Danny nodded, and I took my last look at my mother at 7:38 PM on May 23, 2007 – almost, to the minute, obviously, on this date six years ago.

She was a beautiful woman, a kind woman, and losing her altered my life forever in ways I could never imagine. I love you, Mom, and I feel privileged to have known you, and this is how I’ll always remember you…

MOM AND I GOING TO THE PREMIERLooking happier than I’d seen her in years when I took her to the premiere of We Are Marshall in Huntington, WV, at the Keith Albee theatre about six months before she died…she was already eaten up with cancer, but you’d never know it by the spark in her eye and jump in her step.

Wish you were here, Mom. I know you’d love the new shoes I just bought, and you’d be excited to see how well your grandsons are doing.

So, to all those who haven’t spoken to your Mom in awhile, pick up the phone, hop in the car/get on a plane and go see/talk to her before it’s too late – because you never know which one is going to be the last conversation. The last thing my mother told me before she died was how proud she was of me, and when I’m having a crappy day – that always comes back to me…

~Ciao for now…

TB

Post #64 – In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Smith…

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Mr. and Mrs. Smith in their front yard, circa 1992 after she had back surgery. This photo depicts her first walk outside…

The Mr. and Mrs. Smith in question are my parents, and, yes, that’s their real names :). They were very special people*, who tied the knot 55 years ago this month. They met sometime in 1954 while they were both attending Marshall University. Dad was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Mom was an Alpha Xi, and she had been a cheerleader in high school in Man, West Virginia, and she was a cheerleader at Marshall as well.

But Dad’s only claim to fame in high school in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland, was a short stint on the wrestling team. He weighed 117 pounds when he graduated, so he wrestled in what they called “the spider weight”…I don’t know if he was a champion wrestler, or just another guy on the team. Dad was not much for bragging…unless he was talking about Mom :).

The photo below was taken at an Alpha Xi dance in ’56 or ’57. Those who know me well have probably already seen this pic on my Facebook page.

An unlikely pair since Mom was a typical Southern belle who was very outgoing and chatty, and Dad was rather serious and often quiet, but somehow they made it work. And apparently, Mom slain quite a few hearts when she accepted Dad’s fraternity pin her second year of college and pledged to date no one else.

One particular ex-beau good-naturedly joked that Dad stole Mom from him at every single reunion of Dad’s fraternity (though in truth, he and Mom only had 2 dates). Mom organized all the PiKA reunions from the late 80s until 2006.

I think all dad’s fraternity brothers were a little in love with Mom as evidenced by the fact they named her Pi Kappa Alpha Dream Girl for life during the reunion of 2005 (i.e. the photo below was taken that night). Looking back, I can see the cancer in her eyes in this picture when even though in her heart, she didn’t accept it until the diagnosis was thrust upon her by an oncologist 23 days before she died in May of 2007.

Mom at the Pi Kappa Alpha Reunion 2005.

While it may appear that my parents lived a storybook life, it wasn’t. There were a lot of arguments, a lot of grumbling, and I don’t think Mom was happy that Dad insisted she stay home with Ben, Danny and me, especially after we started school because Mom loved teaching. She taught science and biology at my junior high for two years before Ben was born and never worked after that.

Dad made enough money as an engineer at a large oil company to pay all the bills, so that was that. In the end, when she found out she was terminal, she told me she’d had a good life, that she had no regrets. Either way, Mom was always there when we needed her, that’s for sure, whether I got sick at school, or I was embroiled in a spat with a girlfriend, she made herself available.

She was also heavily involved in the PTA, church charities, and such. When I was eight, she accepted the position as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for the PTA, which was a huge job. I was very proud of her during one meeting when she had to speak in front of the entire PTA, consisting of about 100 parents, teachers, etc. She summarized some sort of report, as I recall.

She and I had always had severe stage fright when it came to large groups, but she didn’t stutter or stumble throughout her entire 10-minute presentation. Though she came across so confident and unfazed by this daunting task, she told me later her knees were knocking so loud, she thought for certain the audience could hear it…but we were none the wiser.

Together for 49 years when she passed away, Mom and Dad remained steadfast through bitterness and light, members of an elite group who never once uttered the word divorce no matter how ugly things got at times. I remember a lot of screaming when Ben was in high school, when he skipped school or came home drunk.

Then, after Ben graduated from high school, Dad got very upset when Ben moved in with his girlfriend, whom we all adored. Dad was a devout Catholic, and cohabitation was definitely not condoned. However, through the years, living in sin became a sin Dad could live with as he didn’t say much about my co-habitation with Joe or Charlie before we wed. But back in ’79, Dad’s feelings on the matter were quite different…

When Danny was in high school, he fell in love with drugs, which led to more family turmoil and his quitting high school after failing the 10th grade. Mom and Dad rallied against Danny quitting until the bitter end, but he was 16. There was nothing they could do. That’s one decision, I’m sure that Danny wishes he could take back. He got his G.E.D., but that isn’t quite the same.

I was no angel either, illustrated by several earlier posts:  #46, My Bad Influence and Posts 30 and 31- An Ode To Barboursville Parts 1 and 2 that details my unfortunate, but thankfully brief incarceration at the Barboursville “jail” above the Volunteer Fire Department when I was 17… 🙂

In the late 80s, after Ben moved to Florida, I to New York and Danny to South Carolina, Mom and Dad enjoyed being empty nesters and snow birds, going South every winter and living in WV in the spring and summer. They also loved going out of town for Marshall football games and such as well.

But for Mom and Dad, the words, “Til Death Do Us Part”…were just that, words. When we lost Mom in 2007, there was no other for Dad, and he lived as though Mom were just on sabbatical. He sat in his favorite chair in the den at their house, drinking beer as depicted in the image below…

Dad on Thanksgiving day 2008.

He ate the same food, rode his easy chair through every football season. Whether Marshall or the Browns won or lost didn’t matter, he simply lived for the game.

He listened to Nana gripe and grind all day long about this, that, and everything in between and never said a word.

Just as before, he and Nana wintered in the South and spent their summers in West Virginia. But in 2009, cancer took Dad too, and I have no doubt that he’s still sitting in a recliner somewhere, drinking beer and counting the days until the first Marshall game, like always. I’m certain that Mom is at his side, wishing Chad Pennington still played for MU (her favorite player)…because as I said, til death do us part did not/does not apply to THIS Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Over and out from Memory Lane~

TenaciousB/Kennedy Smith/Chairman of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith Fan Club

* See Post #  43 – The Kindest Man Who Ever Lived for an awesome story about Dad’s childhood, and Mom is mentioned in various posts throughout my blog.

** Danny is my younger brother who stole Nana’s life savings and then some, which is the subject of many posts, starting with Post #1 – As My Mother Lay Dying…

Post 17 – And along came an URN…

Posted in Family, family battles, grandmothers, siblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

So, first, my apologies that I’ve been AWOL. Between my son Max’s birthday last week, buying him a new car for graduation, and graduation THIS WEEKEND, I’ve had to schedule/reschedule my own bathroom breaks.

And this post is not a short TALE, so grab your Red Bull, and put your feet up cuz it’ll be a LONG RIDE down a really fucked up rabbit hole…and… Today, I’m going to divulge a little backstory, which ignited Danny’s wrath and/or loathing of yours truly.

It all started when our dad died in November 2009. My brother, Ben, his wife, Alicia, my friend, Calista, Danny and I went to a funeral home in Virginia where we all grew up (well, not Alicia…she’s from Chicago, but anyway) to make arrangements for Dad’s funeral/burial. Btw, Calista has been one of my best friends since high school, which is why I asked her to go with me/us, and she WAS a good friend of Danny’s, but that is NO MORE…

THEN, Alicia, Ben and I went to the cemetery where Mom was buried. Danny and Calista didn’t go with us, most likely because Danny KNEW the cemetery folks would ask for CASH up front, and Danny, of course, was once again, unemployed.

As soon as we sat down with Beth, the manager of the cemetery, she said, “It’s my understanding that your father wanted to be cremated.”

We were all rather shocked to hear this because Dad was a devout Catholic, and the Catholic Church REALLY frowns upon cremation.

However, I assumed he changed his mind because Mom’s funeral in ‘07 cost over $11,000. She had NO life insurance. Dad emptied his savings account and sold the last of his stock portfolio to come up with around $3,000, which broke my heart b/c his stocks were worth around $200K when he retired in ‘97. Anyway, Ben and I paid the remainder of the fees. Luckily, Charlie and I had gotten an awesome tax refund that year, so it was no problem to help out.

I’m sure the cost of Mom’s funeral influenced Dad’s decision to be cremated. PLUS, Beth also told us, “All of the plots around your mother’s grave were sold years before she died. I have notes on my computer where he called me right after she died, and he left explicit instructions that he WANTED to be buried with her.”

At that point, we altered our plans. Ben and Alicia, Danny, Calista and I went back to the funeral home the NEXT day and chose another casket since the green one we’d previously chosen was not one they could use for cremation.

Danny seemed unhappy about buying a cheaper casket, but Ben and I felt it was ridiculous to spend mega cash on a box that was GOING TO BE BURNED. However, Mom and Dad both went to Marshall University, and were both FANATIC fans of MU’s football team, so we draped a Marshall blanket over the casket, and you really couldn’t see much of it during the visitation. Despite Danny’s grumblings, he finally agreed, and he, Ben, and I all signed the contract to have Dad cremated.

So, why am I telling you ALL of this? Am I EVER going to get to the point? Yes, and here it is.

Six months later, Danny emailed me asking when the closing was going to be to sell Mom and Dad’s house. I explained that Dad owed around $115K on the house b/c of the liens from the $40,000+ in credit card debt (and Danny fraudulently racked up about $33,000 of that), the two mortgages from Danny’s damned trailers (see Blog #4), which were around $65K.

The prospective buyers had agreed to a $72,000 price tag, and they’d obtained a home equity loan of $20,000 to repair the foundation. So, when you add in the real-tor fee of $5000 (the usual 7%) thereabouts…the closing obviously had to be canceled because the house had only been appraised for $69,500. Do the math: the total loan amount of $97K wasn’t enough to cover $115K in debt.

An hour later…ON the two-year anniversary of Mom’s death and coincidentally on the day BEFORE the closing had been scheduled, CRACK BRAIN replied:

From: danny smith [mailto:danny_smith84xxxxx@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, XXX, 2010 9:13 PM
To: kennedy
Subject: RE: Sale of dad’s house…

IS THAT ALL YOU CARE ABOUT IS MAKING MONEY ON THE HOUSE? CALISTA TOLD ME SHE CONFRONTED YOU AND YOU SAI CREMATED OUR FATHER BECAUSE WE COULDN’T AFFORD TO BURY HIM….BUT, HE HAD A LOT OF LIFE INSURANCE. WHY DID YOU ALL LIE TO ME? I TALKED TO THE LADY IN THE CEMETARY. DAD DIDN’T LEAVE ANY INSTRUCTIONS WITH HER LIKE YOU TOLD ME…ID HAVE GLADLY GIVEN UP MY SHARE OF LIFE INSURANCE TO BURY HIM, OUR FATHER DID NOT BELIEVE IN CREMATION , YOU AND BEN AND ALICIA LIED TO ME at THE FUNERAL HOME, WHAT IN THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU,, YOU OWE ME AND DAD AN APOLOGY , AND YOUN NEED TO ADMIT YOUR SNIS TO THE PREIST.YOU NEED TO SEEK FORGIVENESS.

After I read this fabricated load of CA CA, I was completely stunned. Then, I started crying, then sobbing LOUDLY. I was at Mom/Dad’s house in Virginia gathering up the last few boxes of their junk, and still desperately trying to cope with the fact that we couldn’t sell our childhood home.

Then, I did what ALL the women in my family do to alleviate their misery. I went SHOPPING, and I bought 2-shirts I didn’t need, the movie: Sixteen Candles (LOVE John Hughes), a gallon of vanilla bean ice cream and ate almost half of it with chocolate syrup.

Then, I spent a good bit of time THINKING. First of all, Danny SIGNED the contract to cremate Dad, so WHY were me and Ben in the hot seat? We didn’t COERCE him. He didn’t say ONE WORD at the time. If he had objected, maybe, we would’ve buried him, but WHERE? He wanted to be buried with MOM. And we didn’t tell him AT the funeral home. We told him AT Dad’s house, so obviously, his memory is a tad skewed.

Secondly, Calista did NOT confront me. And I NEVER told her that we couldn’t afford to bury Dad. Danny twisted what I said, and Calista actually TRIED to explain to Danny that he was WRONG, but he wouldn’t LISTEN.

On the MORNING Dad died, I told Calista that I was concerned that the cost of a full burial would preclude us from repairing the foundation at Mom/Dad’s house, which had been sinking for years. And with the two mortgages on the house, I was afraid my childhood home would go into foreclosure because I knew Ben and I couldn’t pay two mortgages forever. There was enough in Dad’s savings and checking to pay the mortgages for about two months.

And after that…the truth was we really STRUGGLED to pay the mortgage and utilities until it sold. I remember Ben being ETERNALLY grateful that I, unlike Danny, am an HONEST person, and I sent him $800 from the estate sale I had a month after Dad died to pay the mortgages, etc. I only kept enough to cover the cost of advertising and my gas down to Virginia and back. So, why would I have lied to save the $2010.49 by cremating Dad, which came out to around $670 each?

My Dad’s last wishes are worth a HELLUVA lot more to me than $670. And Charlie and I make good money. It takes him about 11 hours to make that, so Danny can just FUCK OFF.

Aside from that, I didn’t know you could buy a house “as is”. When I was in junior high, I remember Mom saying that no bank would approve a loan from a perspective buyer unless we fixed the basement. Mom wanted to move, but Dad refused, so the basement continued to descend into the earth.

However, TODAY with the current foreclosure mess, obviously a house in need of structural repairs doesn’t bar anyone from getting a loan because a very nice man who owned two insurance agencies got approved to buy my parents’ house.

And correction, COKE JERK, Dad did NOT have “A LOT” of life insurance. He had a grand total of $20,000. Maybe, if you’re homeless/mooching off your family, that’s A LOT of money, but the almost $4K we received after the funeral costs were paid just barely covered our vacation to Pensacola in June last year. So, GET A LIFE, you COKE-ASSED MORON!

Now, there are those who might think that, perhaps, I was mistaken, that Beth didn’t say that Dad wanted to be cremated. After all, grief can definitely color your perception of things.

However, since Ben and Alicia live in California, Alicia had only met my Dad THREE times, so she wasn’t going through any grief really. Not that she wasn’t saddened by Dad’s passing because she liked him. Everybody did. And Alicia also contends that Beth stated unequivocally that my Dad led her to believe that he wanted to be cremated!

And wouldn’t you know it… I found a BROCHURE from the funeral home in Dad’s closet at Nana’s house when I boxing up the remainder of his clothes, etc., to bring home when Nana moved in with me and Charlie… and INSIDE the brochure were notes on letterhead STATIONARY from the funeral home with price quotes for cremation and various URNS…I thought about sending it to Danny, but I didn’t know where he was living, and he’d probably just tell himself/anyone who would listen that I’d somehow faked it…

I also called Beth and explained Danny’s delusional email, and she said they have to LOG all calls b/c of this kind of issue, and that DANNY had NOT called. So, that was yet ANOTHER example of Danny spewing BULLSHIT.

That said, CONSIDER THIS, the cemetery lost around $2K by cremating dad. So, WHY would Beth tell us Dad wanted to be cremated if he didn’t?

Aside from that, during one of his BRIEF stints of sobriety, Danny told Calista that if “his lips were moving while he’s using, then he’s LYING.” So, there ya go…I found out later from one of his friends that he drank a case of beer the day he wrote that email b/c he DRUNK-dialed him (our mutual friend). Later, Danny told this same friend that he also bought an 8-ball of Coke that SAME day, and stated that it wasn’t the “best blow” he’d ever had… so THERE YA GO…..

THEREFORE, we didn’t cremate Dad against his WILL. And I feel no GUILT for his cremation, and IF Beth was mistaken about Dad’s intentions, or we did misinterpret what she said, it was an HONEST mistake. And he would have FORGIVEN us.

However, shortly after Dad’s funeral, I remembered that Dad had said that we could, “bury him in a coffee can for all I care” as we were leaving the funeral home the day we bought Mom’s casket. I had COMPLETELY forgotten he’d said that.

At the time, I thought Dad was joking, and Ben even remembered my TELLING him about the coffee can comment. I also remembered Dad saying that since Mom had no life insurance, he would’ve had her cremated because he KNEW she wouldn’t care and would’ve hated the financial burden her funeral put on all of us. Mom and Dad were married for 49 YEARS. I think Dad knew her pretty well!

And Mom was a science teacher, and despite the fact that she was also Catholic, she was a little weird, and I remember her telling me how she got into mega trouble when she was 10 or 11 when Nana Maude came home from work to find her kitchen was lightly salted with sawdust. And she found bird guts in one side of the sink and some UGLY stuffed crow in the other. So, I’m thinking anyone who was into taxidermy in junior high probably wouldn’t care the least about cremation.

That said, the last thing Dad EVER said about possibly cremating Mom was, “But your Nana Maude wouldn’t HEAR of it.” I guess folks in the Pentecostal church don’t COTTON to cremation either… hard to say…

And that whole accusatory tone in Danny’s email regarding money is a defense mechanism. I think it’s his crackbrained way of directing the rage on me and Ben instead of being angry at himself for all his SINS.

I was so hurt by Danny’s brain-mushed theory from the COKE dimension that I couldn’t work for two days. If I hadn’t mentioned it, I’m an editor, and I occasionally do script consulting, both of which requires a good bit of focus to make sure you’re catching ALL of people’s errors in their work, etc.

Therefore, you can imagine since Danny has been riding this crazy cremation train for almost two years that he really wanted to strangle me after I allegedly STOLE his car and sold it, and I’m sure he tells people I just bought lots of Dom Perignon and new clothes and God knows WHAT else with the profits from selling the BMW (see Blog #15-The Money Drop) instead of paying all the debts left in his wake of chaos.

And that’s my $670’s worth…and for those who AREN’T aware, all the EVENTS in my posts are TRUE, but everyone’s names have been CHANGED to protect the innocent from the CRACKHEADS… 🙂

OVER AND OUT from the Geriatric SWAMP…

~Kennedy